Movie Review: The GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS

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Movie Review GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS, TheWarner Bros. Pictures
2016
R

“If I had a box of bad things, I’d put you in it and close the lid.”

If you’re like me, you’re a fan of the zombie movie genre, but are kind of experiencing burnout from the sheer glut of movies that feature the same old well-trodden plot that every modern zombie movie has done, ad nausium. But, you keep watching them, knowing that sometimes a real gem once in a while shines through all the other unremarkable chunks out there.

The Girl With All The Gifts was, back when it was making the fest rounds, getting a lot of buzz for being an innovative zombie movie that’s smarter than your average zombie flick. I had my doubts, but I was intrigued with the title of the movie itself, and what that meant in relation to the story itself. I finally got around to streaming the movie one weekend morning.

In a dystopian near future, humanity has been ravaged by a mysterious fungal disease. The afflicted are robbed of all free will and turned into flesh-eating “hungries”. Humankind’s only hope is a small group of hybrid children who crave human flesh but retain the ability to think and feel. The children go to school at an army base in rural Britain, where they’re subjected to cruel experiments by Dr. Caroline Caldwell. School teacher Helen Justineau grows particularly close to an exceptional girl named Melanie, thus forming a special bond. But when the base is invaded, the trio escape with the assistance of Sgt. Eddie Parks and embark on a perilous journey of survival, during which Melanie must come to terms with who she is.

I’ll give credit where credit is due: The Girl With All The Gifts is a much better zombie movie than most that are clogging the streaming. If you’ll forgive my pedantism, this is technically not a zombie movie. The infection is caused by spores, and the infected never really die and then come back to life. Which means The Girl With All The Gifts has more in common with 28 Days Later than Night Of The Living Dead. But, that’s a pointless minor quibble.

The main image used for the movie itself is something of an effective attention grabber — a girl in one of those Hannibal Lecter masks. You’re not even aware that this is going to be a post-apocalyptic pseudo-zombie movie. Well, if you haven’t read the novel this is based on first. Anyway, The Girl With All The Gifts does a great job establishing the characters and fleshing out their dynamics. The plot itself unfolds and allows you to put the pieces together as to the situation. There were some incredibly tense moments (the military stronghold breech and the immediate aftermath, for example); I have to admit, that while the premise itself is intriguing, once the survivors are off the base, The Girl With All The Gifts settles into a standard post-apocalypse survival road trip. The ending is interesting, but not all that shocking.

Overall, The Girl With All The Gifts is a very good movie that gives a good spin to the genre wheel. It’s definitely worth a watch.

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OLD TESTAMENT TESTS FOR FALSE PROPHETS

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Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners. From the least to the gretaest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.Jeremiah 8:10-11
In the Old testament, various signs or works pointed to a true or false prophet. Many of these can be applied today.

1. Does the prophet use fortune telling?
Divination was expressly forbidden by God.
When you enter th land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the Lord your God has not permitted you to do so.Deuteronomy 18:9-14

No true teacher or prophet would use fortune-telling or have any dealings with spirits of the dead.
Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.Jeremiah 14:14
For there will be no more false visions or flattering divinations among the people of Israel.Ezekiel 12:24
The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God.”Micah 3:7

2. Have the prophet’s short-term prophecies been fulfilled?
If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.Deuteronomy 18:22 used this as a test. Do predictions come to pass?

3. Is the prophet marked by a desire to say only what pleases people?
Many false prophets told people what they wanted to hear. A true prophet serves God, not people.
They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious; “Peace, peace,” they say, when there is no peace.Jeremiah 8:11
But I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place.'”Jeremiah 14:13
They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’Jeremiah 23:17
“‘Because they lead my people astray, saying, “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash,Ezekiel 13:10
This is what the Lord says: “As for the prophets who lead my people astray, they proclaim ‘peace’ if they have something to eat, but prepare to wage war against anyone who refuses to feed them.Micah 3:5

4. Does the prophet draw people away from God?
Many teachers draw people to themselves or to the system or organization they have built.
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods,” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.Deuteronomy 13:1-3

5. Does the prophet’s prophecy confirm the Bible’s main teaching?
If a prophecy is inconsistent with or contradictory to Scripture, it is not to be believed.
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.Acts 17:11

6. What is the prophet’s moral character?
False prophets were charged with lying,
From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit.Jeremiah 8:10b
Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.Jeremiah 14:14

drunkenness
And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer; priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions.Isaiah 28:7

and immorality.
And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that not one of them turns from their wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.”Jeremiah 23:14

7. Do other Spirit-led people discern authenticity in this prophet?
Discernment by others who are led of the Spirit is a key test.
But Jehosaphat asked, “Is there no longer a prophet of the Lord here whom we can inquire of?”1 Kings 22:7

The New Testament speaks of this a great deal.
When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me–just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep.John 10:4-15
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.1 Corinthians 2:14
Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.1 Corinthians 14:29
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.1 John 4:1

Movie Review: The INCREDIBLE HULK

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incredible hulkUniversal Pictures
2008
PG-13

“I’ve had missions go wrong, and seen good people go down all because someone didn’t tell them what they were walking into. I moved on because that’s the job, and that’s what we do. But this…this is a whole new level of weird, and I don’t think I want to step away from it.”

The second film in the big Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it wasn’t exactly the big blockbuster that Iron Man turned out to be. Mind you, this was the second attempt to bring the Jade Giant to the big screen, five years after Ang Lee’s version with Eric Bana, Nick Nolte and giant mutated poodles. Among other things. And while this kind-of sequel to that Hulk movie got much more right with the characters and the story on this go-round, it still wasn’t the SMASH! we were expecting. See what I did, there?

Pointless bit of personal backstory: The night I went to watch The Incredible Hulk, it was part of the bachelor party I threw as Best Man for my friends. We had just spent a couple of hours at the nearby Buffalo Wild Wings, so almost all of us were nicely buzzed going into the movie. Except for me, I was the designated driver. So, maybe we enjoyed the movie more than we would normally. That doesn’t factor in my enjoyment due to complete sobriety. But, anyway, enough stalling.

Scientist Bruce Banner scours the planet for an antidote to the unbridled force of rage within him: the Hulk. But when the military masterminds who dream of exploiting his powers force him back to civilization, he finds himself coming face to face with a new, deadly foe.

I can see why a lot of people didn’t enjoy The Incredible Hulk. Technically, this was a reboot that worked also as a sequel, but was its own movie…stay with me, here. I liked the way they did a bit of a retro-summary of 2003’s The Hulk with the opening montage segment. The story itself was compelling, and for the most part kept my attention. It was maybe a bit early to wheel in The Abomination at this point in the game, and that’s probably what dragged the last third of the movie down. Liv Tyler seemed to play Banner’s love interest Betty Ross sans any kind of emotion. And while I kind of prefered Sam Eliott in the role of General Thunderbolt Ross from The Hulk, William Hurt does a rather good job in the role himself. Three times, so far.

Overall, yeah, I enjoyed The Incredible Hulk for what it is: a fun comic book action movies. Norton did a doable job as Bruce Banner, but I really am a Mark Ruffalo fan when it comes to live action portrayal of Dr. Bruce Banner. The Incredible Hulk isn’t a bad movie, and I would give it some repeat watchings if the opportunity arises, I’m just in no hurry to put it in my collection just yet.

Frozen Wednesday Update…

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NecRoSarX Chronicles Header
iced overLately the posts on this blog of mine have made things look like this is strictly a movie review blog. I apologize about that; during the handful of months last year when I was going through the medical stuff with my toe and had nothing else to do outside of the hospital visits and IV infusions, I scheduled a lot of movie reviews to be posted during the weekdays. And since I had a bunch to catch up on, there are still a goodly amount that are going to be posted in the near future. But, I wanted to at least throw something else in besides those, just to get back to a variety of posts on here. So…here’s a bit of an update.
weather omaha
As I type this, the Polar Vortex is in full effect. It’s in the negative digits outside, and the NEKRON-7 groaned its displeasure at this sub-zero snap. My nipples hit the frigid air, and said a collective “Nope.” and hopped right off of me and went back inside, leaving me to go to work without nipples. I hate when that happens.

I have taken off all of the music reviews and the band interviews from here, and am in the process of scheduling all of those to be posted on the NECRO SHOCK RADIO blog. I’ve been scheduling 20 posts a day, so all of them should be up on the site by the end of February or soon thereafter. I figured they belonged there; a better fit, if you will. I’ll probably still link any new postings to this one, just to keep anyone abreast of my other writing ventures and such.
colder than we thought
So, that’s about it right now. For everyone who’s stuck in this Polar Vortex, stay warm and safe, and at least it looks like it will get warmer as the week closes out. Cheers, all…

::END TRANSMISSION::

Movie Review: POINT BREAK

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point break20th Century Fox
1991
R

“Do you think that taxpayers would like it, Utah, if they knew that they were paying a federal agent to surf and pick up girls?”
“Babes.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“The correct term is ‘babes’, sir.”

It was the summer of 1991. I was on the cusp of my Senior Year in high school, and that particular summer vacation was turning out to be the best ones of my teenage years. One of the factors were the movies from that summer, one of which happened to be the action classic Point Break.

Let me go ahead and get this out of the way: I haven’t seen the 2015 remake. Neither do I have any intention to do so, ever. An unneccisary abomination, it is.

Yeah, you can probably guess which way this review article is going to go. Ah, nostalgia glasses.

Hang ten and hang tough, Johhny. Rookie FBI agent Johnny Utah is learning to ride the waves. His mission: infiltrated a group of extreme surfers who may be the Ex-Presidents, bank robbers whose MO includes wearing masks of former White House denizens. Keanu Reeves portrays Johnny, Patrick Swaze is charismatic thrill seeker Bodhi and Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow delivers an adrenaline rush of gnarly rides, sky dives and danger in Point Break.

The original Point Break is a bodaciously awesome action flick from the early 1990s that will always be a constant presence in my movie collection. I can understand why some would consider this a “bad movie”. I’m not denying that it’s not. Then again, my tastes don’t exactly run with those Oscar-nominated type movies that everyone who wants to look like a cultured elitist always say they like. I don’t really get those type of people, and I have several in my circle of friends who are like that, so it’s not like I’m a snob about it or anything. Although my superior tastes are quite evident, I don’t have to point that out.

Anyway, Point Break ranks up there with the likes of Beverly Hills Cop and Lethal Weapon, with a veritable bromance between Patrick Swaze and Keanu Reeves, and a performance by Gary Busey that can only be considered “subdued” by Busey standards. There’s Souix City’s own Lori Petty as the persnickety surfer love interest, and we even get a bit appearance by a Red Hot Chili Pepper. Not Flea, though. That singer guy. Also, the movie ends on a Ratt song. That’s how awesome this movie is.

So, yeah. I love Point Break. I watch it all the time since that day back in the summer of 1991. I’m probably going to watch it tonight after posting this, as a matter of fact. You should watch it too. That’s all.

Movie Review: GLASS

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glass movie posterUniversal Pictures
2019
PG-13

“What do we call you, sir?”
“First name, Mister. Last name, Glass.”

M. Night Shyamalan brings together the narratives of two of his standout originals—2000’s Unbreakable, from Touchstone, and 2016’s Split, from Universal—in one explosive, all-new comic-book thriller: Glass. From Unbreakable, Bruce Willis returns as David Dunn as does Samuel L. Jackson as Elijah Price, known also by his pseudonym Mr. Glass. Joining from Split are James McAvoy, reprising his role as Kevin Wendell Crumb and the multiple identities who reside within, and Anya Taylor-Joy as Casey Cooke, the only captive to survive an encounter with The Beast. Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.

After being surprised by how good the movie Split was, I found myself actually looking forward to the green-lit final chapter in M. Night Shayamalan’s superhero trilogy, which started with Unbreakable back in 2000. The trailers that finally were released did a great job in showing just enough to keep me intrigued about what the movie was going to be, while not really spoiling anything in the process. I even managed to get Brian+Andrea to come along and watch, and then we recorded a podcast about it:

SPOILERS!

For the most part, i found myself rather satisfied with this final entry in the trilogy. I had some theories that cropped up from watching the trailer, mainly wondering if this was all going to be like that episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where she wakes up in a psychiatric ward and we’re left wondering what was the real world and which was the fantasy. Well…kind of yes, kind of no. Not to get into spoilery details (you’ve been warned), but the movie did a pretty good job story-wise throwing doubt as to whether these so-called super-powers were real or imaginary. Until the end, mind you, when the big twist happens and I was left wondering if I liked the way it ended or not. I’m still rather up in the air about that, and I probably won’t really come to a firm conclusion. I am, however, leaning a bit towards Didn’t Like Entirely, But It Doesn’t Ruin The Movie as far as the ending goes.

The movie itself is a nicely shot slow-burn, building up to a rather explosive showdown between Bruce Willis’s protagonist, and James McAvoy’s Beast personality. Everyone is great in their respective roles; however, it’s once again James McAvoy that steals the show with how deftly he’s able to switch different personality traits convincingly like that. Bruce Willis does a pretty good Bruce Willis, as always, and Samuel L. Jackson…well, what can I say? He’s the man. He plays the titular character pretty much catatonic for the first half of this movie, and still maintains a strong presence in the scenes he’s in. And when he actually does begin to put things into play, it’s just awesome to watch him work. There’s a scene where he is just watching The Beast take out a couple of guards, and he manages to act more with his face than many other actors can manage in entire movies.

Overall, though the movie did unravel a bit with the last 20 minutes or so, and I’m still not entirely satisfied with how things ended, Glass is still far better than it should be with a movie of this kind of scope. Glass could have been just another haphazardly slapped together sequel to capitalize on the popularity of the last movie; instead, there was attention paled to details that pretty much begs for more than just one viewing. However, I would probably recommend a matinee viewing, if you’re going to catch this in the theater. Recommended.

Movie Review: RACE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN

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race to witch mountainDisney
2009
PG

“Don’t go in the pimped out fridge, Jack…”

Back when I was a wee lad growing up , my burgeoning love of science fiction and horror was fostered by, among other things, Disney movies. Classics like The Cat From Outer Space and The Black Hole occupy my nostalgia banks, as does the movies Escape To Witch Mountain and its sequel, Return To Witch Mountain. I was somewhat enamored with the Witch Mountain movies, mostly because it featured kids around my age at the time, who had powers and the guy who played Uncle Jesse on the Dukes Of Hazzard as their uncle. It’s been decades since I’ve watched either one of those, but I’ve always thought these would be prime for either a reboot, or at least a revival movie.

Well, here we are, in the 21st Century, and we now have, if not a reboot of the Witch Mountain movies, then definitely a continuation of the mythos kind of sort-of sequel, Race To Witch Mountain*. Released in 2009, and staring everyone’s favorite wrestler-turned-movie star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as our human protagonist, proving he’s not only a natural action star, but a Disney family oriented action star as well. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger, only with better teeth and diction.

Jack Bruno, a Las Vegas cabdriver struggling to stay on the right path, gets an out-of-this-world incentive when two aliens, disguised as teenagers, suddenly appear in his taxi. In a race against government agents, an alien hunter and time itself, Jack must help the children recover their lost spaceship so they can return home and save their planet and ours.

If we’re going to be completely honest with ourselves here, we have to admit that the original Witch Mountain movies weren’t what you would call amazing genre-bending blockbusters. I’ll be the first to admit that they were rather low-budget and cheesy. Comparatively, Race To Witch Mountain is a fine addition to those two movies. I consider it a requel–a movie that’s kind of a sequel, but also works as a reboot–as it’s a different story, and the two original actors portraying the kids in the first couple of movies have cameos here helping the kids out, using their original names from the films. Of course, that’s just me being a fanboy nerd, here. The kids were a bit on the obnoxious side, but for the most part, I rather enjoyed Race To Witch Mountain for what it was, that being a family friendly sci-fi adventure. Of course, Dwayne Johnson is very good at what he does here, playing the set-upon taxi driver who finds himself babysitting a couple of alien kids.

Overall, I found Race To Witch Mountain just as good as the original movies. The best thing to do is to set aside the nostalgia glasses, and enjoy this as it was intended to be, a sci-fi family romp.

[* = and before you start getting pedantic; yes, I am aware of the TV movie remake from 1995; I’m just not counting that one]

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